The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today launched the second, “Prototype” phase of its three-phase Lighting Prize (L-Prize®) competition, a DOE American-Made Challenge designed to spur groundbreaking innovation, stimulate American manufacturing, and give rise to the next generation of lighting in commercial buildings.  

The Prototype Phase challenges entrants to pursue technological innovations that extend beyond the standard forms, materials, and price points of commercially available lighting products. Up to six competitors will share an award of $2 million. 

“Investing in next-generation lighting solutions is key to tackling the climate crisis, boosting American supply chains and manufacturing of these technologies, creating good-paying jobs, and Building Back Better,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said in January as she announced the winners of the L-Prize's Concept Phase at DOE’s annual Solid-State Lighting Workshop. “We can’t wait to see what innovations come out of the rest of the competition.” 

The L-Prize advances the state-of-the-art in LED lighting, encouraging innovators to develop advanced lighting systems that lead to transformative designs, products, and impacts. The challenging technical requirements are intended to stimulate innovation and raise the bar for efficacy, quality of light, connectivity, and long-term environmental impact. In addition to technical innovation, the L-Prize also prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion in how competitors develop and deploy lighting systems.  

“The L-Prize is primed to unlock the full potential of LED technology—to combine high efficiency with exceptional lighting quality, data-driven control, and sustainable design and construction in a winning product that will redefine the future of lighting,” said Dr. Carolyn Snyder, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency.  

The L-Prize’s current Prototype Phase is divided into two separate tracks: a luminaire track and a connected systems track. Participants may develop prototypes in one or both tracks. The L-Prize expects to launch its third and final phase, “Manufacturing and Installation,” next year. This phase will reward production and installation of products that meet the L-Prize’s technical requirements. Up to four competitors will share an award of $10 million. 

How to Participate in the L-Prize’s Prototype Phase 

Visit the L-Prize website to view the complete competition requirements and timeline. Three informational webinars for the L-Prize Prototype Phase will take place in August:  

Wednesday, August 3, 1:00–1:45 p.m. Eastern 

  • L-Prize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Requirements and Opportunities (Register now

Wednesday, August 17, 1:00–1:45 p.m. Eastern  

  • L-Prize Product Life Cycle and Sustainability: Requirements and Opportunities (Register now

Wednesday, August 17, 2:00–2:45 p.m. Eastern 

 
The Prototype Phase also features two opportunities for participants to prepare for the final Domestic Manufacturing and Installation competition phase: 

  • A Teaming Request for Information (RFI) seeks parties interested in participating with or supporting L-Prize teams in the Manufacturing and Installation Phase. Manufacturing partners, lighting specifiers, end-user installation host sites, utilities, energy service companies (ESCOs), installation contractors, and other interested parties are welcome. The teaming RFI will be open for the duration of the L-Prize competition, and a teaming partner list for competitors will be posted publicly on the L-Prize website and updated regularly.  
  • A public comment period is now open to send input on the Manufacturing and Installation Phase requirements. 

The L-Prize is led by DOE’s Building Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, with lead technical support from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.